There’s no denying that the Raspberry Pi has forever left a mark on computing history, making available a palm-sized computer board that, while no race horse, opened the doors to myriads of projects and devices, not to mention learning opportunities and inspiration for future inventions. The RPi has become so popular that it has no shortage of would-be rivals and clones. ASUS’ silently launched Tinker Board, however, probably takes the cake for being almost an exact clone of the Raspberry Pi, I/O pin for I/O pin.
The ASUS Tinker is a bit of a mixed bag compared to the current Raspberry Pi 3 Model B board. It has double the RAM at 2 GB but it is powered by a Rockchip RK3288, a 1.8 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A17 processor versus the RPi 3’s Cortex-A53 chip. For almost everything else, however, the types of ports and even their locations are a dead knocker for the RPi.
This is by no accident and no small matter. This implies that accessories, shields, and GPIO peripherals that worked on the RPi would also work on the ASUS Tinker. That means you won’t have to invest on or make another set of controllers, DIY attachments, and electronics just to use ASUS’ board rather than the Raspberry Pi. Some, however, might see it as riding on the RPi’s success.
ASUS does lay out reason why you’d want a Tinker rather than a Fruit. One of those is the processor, though don’t be too hasty to judge by GHz alone. The Tinker uses a 32-bit processor while the Raspberry Pi 3 uses a 64-bit one. The ASUS board does have support for 4K HDMI output and faster SDIO and Gigabit Ethernet.
What it doesn’t have over the RPi, however, is price. The ASUS Tinker Board is selling for 55 GBP, roughly $68 and nearly twice that of the Raspberry Pi. ASUS might be banking on its brand a bit heavily in order to make this board a juicier option than a more established and proven name in the single-board computer market.